Free State farmers appeal to govt to declare drought a disaster

Free State
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Farmers in the Free State are appealing to the government to declare the current drought a disaster, with a hope for some kind of relief to mitigate their losses due to the dry season.

The farming community believes the drastic impact of the drought could threaten food security. Given the high prices of commodities, farmers fear that the persisting drought will only lead to more price hikes.

Some fear that they might not be able to get even a quarter of what they have invested.

Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Zimasa Leputla says, “The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is aware of the current drought that is affecting farmers. The department has met with various agricultural unions and it is still engaging with some who are representing the farmers that have been affected. Thereafter, the department will also conduct its own assessment and be able to determine the kind of losses that have been incurred by the farmers. Once that has been concluded the department will then be able to see how it’s going to assist these farmers.”

The yield has been compromised by the heat and lack of irrigation.

Farmers say the loss is huge.

“Now this means that all these expenses that we have used or cost here we will have to pay them back to the person who assisted us to activate the land to plant. Where will the money come from? We don’t know,” laments one farmer.

“We’ve got a certain target that we need to achieve per yield so that you that you have catered for your inputs costs, as well as you profit thereof. So, how this drought has affected us is that the inputs have not really gone down in price. So, one needs to then get a higher yield to cater for those costs. But with the drought that has severely impacted the pocket in that we are going to get the turn over that we expected to get from these crops,” says another farmer.